Quotes by Theodore Roosevelt
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Wikipedia Summary for Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ROH-zə-velt; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), often referred to as Teddy or his initials T. R., was an American statesman, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer, who served as the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909. He previously served as 33rd governor of New York from 1899 to 1900 and the 25th vice president of the United States from March to September 1901. Roosevelt emerged as a leader of the Republican Party and became a driving force for anti-trust and Progressive policies.
Roosevelt was a sickly child with debilitating asthma but partly overcame his health problems by embracing a strenuous lifestyle. He integrated his exuberant personality, a vast range of interests and achievements into a "cowboy" persona defined by robust masculinity. He was home-schooled and began a lifelong naturalist avocation before attending Harvard. His book The Naval War of 1812 (1882) established his reputation as a learned historian and popular writer. Upon entering politics, he became the leader of the reform faction of Republicans in New York's state legislature. His wife and mother both died in rapid succession, and he began to frequent a cattle ranch in the Dakotas. He served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President William McKinley but resigned to lead the Rough Riders during the Spanish–American War. Returning a war hero, he was elected governor of New York in 1898. After Vice President Garret Hobart died in 1899, the New York state party leadership convinced McKinley to accept Roosevelt as his running mate in the 1900 election. Roosevelt campaigned vigorously, and the McKinley–Roosevelt ticket won a landslide victory based on a platform of peace, prosperity, and conservation.
Roosevelt took office as vice president in 1901 and assumed the presidency at age 42 after McKinley was assassinated the following September. He remains the youngest person to become President of the United States. Roosevelt was a leader of the progressive movement and championed his "Square Deal" domestic policies, promising the average citizen fairness, breaking of trusts, regulation of railroads, and pure food and drugs. He prioritized conservation and established national parks, forests, and monuments intended to preserve the nation's natural resources. In foreign policy, he focused on Central America where he began construction of the Panama Canal. He expanded the Navy and sent the Great White Fleet on a world tour to project American naval power. His successful efforts to broker the end of the Russo-Japanese War won him the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize. Roosevelt was elected to a full term in 1904 and continued to promote progressive policies. He groomed his close friend William Howard Taft to succeed him in the 1908 presidential election.
Roosevelt grew frustrated with Taft's brand of conservatism and belatedly tried to win the 1912 Republican nomination for president. He failed, walked out, and founded the Progressive Party. He ran in the 1912 presidential election and the split allowed the Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson to win the election. Following the defeat, Roosevelt led a two-year expedition to the Amazon basin where he nearly died of tropical disease. During World War I, he criticized Wilson for keeping the country out of the war; his offer to lead volunteers to France was rejected. He considered running for president again in 1920, but his health continued to deteriorate. He died in 1919. He is generally ranked in polls of historians and political scientists as one of the five best presidents.
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don't have the strength.
You cannot create prosperity by law. Sustained thrift, industry, application, intelligence, are the only things that ever do, or ever will, create prosperity. But you can very easily destroy prosperity by law.
A people without children would face a hopeless future; a country without trees is almost as helpless.
Life is a great adventure…accept it in such a spirit.
The leader works in the open and the boss in covert. The leader leads, and the boss drives.
Nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort.
Knowing what's right doesn't mean much unless you do what's right.
When you're at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on.
Politeness is a sign of dignity, not subservience.
The most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency.
Get action. Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become an oyster.
It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
It is only through work and strife that either nation or individual moves on to greatness. The great man is always the man of mighty effort, and usually the man whom grinding need has trained to mighty effort.
When the spring round-up begins the horses should be as fat and sleek as possible. After running all winter free, even the most sober pony is apt to betray an inclination to buck; and, if possible, we like to ride every animal once or twice before we begin to do real work with him.
To be really beneficial the sport must be enjoyed by the participator. Much more health will be gained by the man who is not always thinking of his health than by the poor being who is forever wondering whether he has helped his stomach or his lungs, or developed this or that muscle.
To my mind there is a peculiar fascination in hunting the mule-deer. By the time hunting season has arrived the buck is no longer the slinking beast of the thicket, but a bold and yet wary dweller in the uplands.
No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor.
I think if the people of this country can be reached with the truth, their judgment will be in favor of the many, as against the privileged few.
Stand against him in no spirit of vengeance, but only with the resolute purpose to make him act as decent citizens must act if this Republic is to be, and to be kept, what it shall become.
There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of the great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief , the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder.
The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.
It tires me to talk to rich men. You expect a man of millions, the head of a great industry, to be a man worth hearing; but as a rule they don't know anything outside their own business.
The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.
No ordinary work done by a man is either as hard or as responsible as the work of a woman who is bringing up a family of small children.
No ordinary work done by a man is either as hard or as responsible as the work of a woman who is bringing up a family of small children; for upon her time and strength demands are made not only every hour of the day but often every hour of the night.
Our flag is a proud flag, and it stands for liberty and civilization. Where it has once floated, there must be no return to tyranny.
The wildlife of today is not ours to do with as we please. The original stock was given to us in trust for the benefit both of the present and the future. We must render an accounting of this trust to those who come after us.
No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life in a great cause.
Bullies do not make brave men; and boys of men of foul life cannot become good citizens, good Americans, until they change; and even after the change, scars will be left in their souls.
I abhor injustice and bullying by the strong at the expense of the weak, whether among nations or individuals.
To waste and destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them.
We must diligently strive to make our young men decent, God-fearing, law-abiding, honor-loving, justice-doing and also fearless and strong.
It pays no matter what comes after it, to try and do things, to accomplish things in this life and not merely to have a soft and pleasant time.
Americanism is a question of spirit, of conviction and purpose, not creed or birthplaces. The test of our worth is the service we render.
The Bad Lands grade all the way from those that are almost rolling in character to those that are so fantastically broken in form and so bizarre in color as to seem hardly properly to belong to this earth.
It either is or ought to be evident to everyone that business has to prosper before anyone can get any benefit from it.
The biggest corporation, like the humblest private citizen, must be held to strict compliance with the will of the people as expressed in the fundamental law.
Great corporations exist only because they are created and safeguarded by our institutions; and it is therefore our right and duty to see that they work in harmony with these institutions.
I am far from underestimating the importance of dividends, but I rank dividends below human character.
Every expansion of civilization makes for peace. In other words, every expansion of a great civilized power means a victory for law, order, and righteousness. ...It is only the warlike power of a civilized people that can give peace to the world.
Free speech exercised both individually and through a free press, is a necessity in any country where people are themselves free.
There is no good reason why we should fear the future, but there is every reason why we should face it seriously, neither hiding from ourselves the gravity of the problems before us nor fearing to approach these problems with the unbending, unflinching purpose to solve them aright.
The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the state because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government.
Our country, we have faith to believe, is only at the beginning of its growth. Unless the forests of the United States can be made ready to meet the vast demands which this growth will inevitably bring, commercial disaster, that means disaster to the whole country, is inevitable.
The death-knell of the republic had rung as soon as the active power became lodged in the hands of those who sought, not to do justice to all citizens, rich and poor alike, but to stand for one special class and for its interests as opposed to the interests of others.
The one absolute certain way to bring this nation to ruin ... would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities.
The power of the
journalist is great, but he is entitled neither to respect nor admiration because of
that power unless it is used aright.
The modern naturalist must realize that in some of its branches his profession, while more than ever a science, has also become an art.
No man in public position can, under penalty of forfeiting the right to the respect of those whose regard he most values, fail as the opportunity comes to do all that in him lies for peace.
We must remember not to judge any public servant by any one act, and especially should we beware of attacking the men who are merely the occasions and not the cause of disaster.
After the war, and until the day of his death, his position on almost every public question was either mischievous or ridiculous, and usually both.
We did everything possible to keep up the spirits of the men, but it was exceedingly difficult because there was nothing for them to do.
A President has a great chance; his position is almost that of a king and a prime minister rolled into one.
A President has a great chance; his position is almost that of a king and a prime minister rolled into one. Once he has left office he cannot do very much; and he is a fool if he fails to realize it all and to be profoundly thankful for having had the great chance.
Profanity is the parlance of the fool. Why curse when there is such a magnificent language with which to discourse?
And it is through strife and the readiness for strife that a man or a nation must win greatness. So, let the world know that we are here and willing to pour out our blood, our treasure, our tears. And that America is ready and if need be desirous of battle.
The truth is that any good modern rifle is good enough. The determining factor is the man behind the gun.
There are many occasions when the highest praise one can receive is the attack of some given scoundrel.
The most ultimately righteous of all wars is a war with savages.
The most ultimately righteous of all wars is a war with savages, though it is apt to be also the most terrible and inhuman. The rude, fierce settler who drives the savage from the land lays all civilized mankind under a debt to him. ...It is of incalculable importance that America, Australia, and Siberia should pass out of the hands of their red, black, and yellow aboriginal owners, and become the heritage of the dominant world races.
The vice of envy is not only a dangerous, but a mean vice; for it is always a confession of inferiority. It may promote conduct which will be fruitful of wrong to others, and it must cause misery to the man who feels it.
Much of the usefulness of any career must lie in the impress that it makes upon, and the lessons that it teaches to, the generations that come after.
The lives of truest heroism are those in which there are no great deeds to look back upon. It is the little things well done that go to make up a truly successful and good life.
The beauty and charm of the wilderness are his for the asking, for the edges of the wilderness lie close beside the beaten roads of the present travel.
All privileges based on wealth, and all emnity to honest men merely because they are wealthy, are un-American.
Any man who tries to excite class hatred, sectional hate, hate of creeds, any kind of hatred in our community, though he may affect to do it in the interest of the class he is addressing, is in the long run with absolute certainly that class's own worst enemy.
The dull, purblind folly of the very rich men, their greed and arrogance, and the corruption in business and politics, have tended to produce a very unhealthy condition.
Even in ordinary times there are very few of us who do not see the problems of life as through a glass, darkly; and when the glass is clouded by the murk of furious popular passion, the vision of the best and the bravest is dimmed.
Avoid the base hypocrisy of condemning in one man what you pass over in silence when committed by another.
No man who is corrupt, no man who condones corruption in others, can possibly do his duty by the community.
It is both foolish and wicked to teach the average man who is not well off that some wrong or injustice has been done him, and that he should hope for redress elsewhere than in his own industry, honesty, and intelligence.
The teachings of the Bible are so interwoven and entwined with our whole civic and social life that it would be literally impossible for us to figure to ourselves what that life would be if these teachings were removed.
Anything that encourages pauperism, anything that relaxes the manly fiber and lowers self-respect, is an unmixed evil.
I hold it to be our duty to see that the wage-worker, the small producer, the ordinary consumer, shall get their fair share of business prosperity. But it either is or ought to be evident to everyone that business has to prosper before anybody can get any benefit from it.
It is a great mistake to think that the extremist is a better man than the moderate. Usually the difference is not that he is morally stronger, but that he is intellectually weaker. He is not more virtuous. He is simply more foolish.
We do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious effort; the man who never wrongs his neighbor, who is prompt to help a friend, but who has those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life.
Such an experiment without actual conditions of war to support it is a foolish waste of time... I once saw a man kill a lion with a 30-30 caliber rifle under certain conditions, but that doesn't mean that a 30-30 rifle is a lion gun.
If we lose the virile, manly qualities, and sink into a nation of mere hucksters, putting gain over national honor, and subordinating everything to mere ease of life, then we shall indeed reach a condition worse than that of the ancient civilizations in the years of their decay.
Laws are essential emanations from the self-poised character of God; they radiate from the sun to the circling edge of creation. Verily, the mighty Lawgiver hath subjected himself unto laws.
Alone of human beings the good and wise mother stands on a plane of equal honor with the bravest soldier; for she has gladly gone down to the brink of the chasm of darkness to bring back the children in whose hands rests the future of the years.
Water is a commodity not by any means to be found everywhere...When found, it is more than likely to be bad, being either from a bitter alkaline pool, or from a hole in a creek, so muddy that it can only be called liquid by courtesy.
Freemasonry teaches not merely temperance, fortitude, prudence, justice, brotherly love, relief, and truth, but liberty, equality, and fraternity, and it denounces ignorance, superstition, bigotry, lust tyranny and despotism.
Burning fossil fuels is like breaking up the furniture to feed the fireplace because it's easier than going out to the woodpile.
This was my first real lesson in politics… If you are cast on a desert island with only a screwdriver, hatchet, and the chisel to make a boat with, why, go and make the best one you can. It would be better if you had a saw, but you haven't, so with men.
In the great battle of life, no brilliancy of intellect, no perfection of bodily development, will count when weighed in the balance against the assemblage of virtues, active and passive, of moral qualities which we group together under the name of character.
I do not believe there ever was any life more attractive to a vigorous young fellow than life on a cattle ranch in those days. It was a fine, healthy life, too; it taught a man self-reliance, hardihood, and the value of instant decision...I enjoyed the life to the full.
The greatest privilege and greatest duty for any man is to be happily married, and no other form of success or service, for either man or woman, can be wisely accepted as a substitute or alternative.
War is not merely justifiable, but imperative upon honorable men, upon an honorable nation, where peace can only be obtained by the sacrifice of conscientious conviction or of national welfare.
highest form of success comes to the man who does not shrink from
danger, from hardship or from bitter toil, and who, out of these, wins
the splendid ultimate triumph.
Only those are fit to live who do not fear to die and none are fit to die who have shrunk from the joy of life and the duty of life.
From the greatest to the smallest, happiness and usefulness are largely found in the same soul, and the joy of life is won in its deepest and truest sense only by those who have not shirked life's burdens.
The joy of living is his who has the heart to demand it. Life is a great adventure, and I want to say to you, accept it in such a spirit.
In doing your work in the great world, it is a safe plan to follow a rule I once heard on the football field: Don't flinch, don't fall; hit the line hard.
A nation that still needs to distinguish between stealing an election, and stealing a new pair of shoes, is not completely civilized yet.
The ordinary air fighter is an extraordinary man and the extraordinary air fighter stands as one in a million among his fellows.
We face the future with our past and our present as guarantors of our promises; and we are content to stand or to fall by the record which we have made and are making.
It may be that at some time in the dim future of the race the need for war will vanish: but that time is yet ages distant. As yet no nation can hold its place in the world, or can do any work really worth doing, unless it stands ready to guard its right with an armed hand.
Fertile plains, every foot of them tilled, are of the first necessity; but great natural playgrounds of mountain, forest, cliff-walled lake, and brawling brook are also necessary to the full and many-sided development of a fine race.
The reader, the booklover, must meet his own needs without paying too much attention to what his neighbors say those needs should be.
I believe that there should be a very much heavier progressive tax on very large incomes, a tax which should increase in a very marked fashion for the gigantic incomes.
Mother went off for three days to New York and Mame and Quentin took instant advantage of her absence to fall sick. Quentin's sickness was surely due to a riot in candy and ice-cream with chocolate sauce.
The great virtue of my radicalism lies in the fact that I am perfectly ready, if necessary, to be radical on the conservative side.
The public must retain control of the great waterways. It is essential that any permit to obstruct them for reasons and on conditions that seem good at the moment should be subject to revision when changed conditions demand.
Among the wise and high-minded people who in self-respecting and genuine fashion strive earnestly for peace, there are the foolish fanatics always to be found in such a movement and always discrediting it the men who form the lunatic fringe in all reform movements.
The worst lesson that can be taught to a man is to rely upon others and to whine over his sufferings.
Life is as if you were traveling a ridge crest. You have the gulf of inefficiency on one side and the gulf of wickedness on the other, and it helps not to have avoided one gulf if you fall into the other.
I stand for the square deal. I mean not merely that I stand for fair play under the present rules of the game, but that I stand for having those rules changed so as to work for a more substantial equality of opportunity and of reward for equally good service.
To borrow a simile from the football field, we believe that men must play fair, but that there must be no shirking, and that the success can only come to the player who hits the line hard.
The only trouble with the movement for the preservation of our forests is that it has not gone nearly far enough, and was not begun soon enough.
There is a homely old adage which runs: Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far. If the American nation will speak softly, and yet build and keep at a pitch of the highest training a thoroughly efficient navy, the Monroe Doctrine will go far.
'Liar' is just as ugly a word as 'thief,' because it implies the presence of just as ugly a sin in one case as in the other. If a man lies under oath or procures the lie of another under oath, if he perjures himself or suborns perjury, he is guilty under the statute law.
Nowadays the field naturalist-who is usually at all points superior to the mere closet naturalist-follows a profession as full of hazard and interest as that of the explorer or of the big-game hunter in the remote wilderness.
My power vanishes into thin air the instant that my fellow citizens, who are straight and honest, cease to believe that I represent them and fight for what is straight and honest. That is all the strength that I have.
There are dreadful moments when death comes very near those we love, even if for the time being it passes by. But life is a great adventure, and the worst of all fears is the fear of living.
Conservation and rural-life policies are really two sides of the same policy; and down at the bottom this policy rests upon the fundamental law that neither man nor nation can prosper unless, in dealing with the present, thought is steadily given for the future.
Poverty is a bitter thing; but it is not as bitter as the existence of restless vacuity and physical, moral, and intellectual flabbiness, to which those doom themselves who elect to spend all their years in that vainest of all vain pursuits-the pursuit of mere pleasure as a sufficient end in itself.
Unjust war is to be abhorred; but woe to the nation that does not make ready to hold its own in time of need against all who would harm it! And woe thrice over to the nation in which the average man loses the fighting edge, loses the power to serve as a soldier if the day of need should arise!
Personally I have never been able to understand why the head of a big business, whether it be the Nation, the State or the Army, or Navy should not desire to have very strong and positive people under him.
It may be that 'the voice of the people is the voice of God' in fifty one cases out of a hundred, but in the remaining forty nine it is quite as likely to be the voice of the devil, of, what is still worse, the voice of a fool.
We sincerely and earnestly believe in peace; but if peace and justice conflict, we scorn the man who would not stand for justice though the whole world came in arms against him.
Get action. Do things; be sane; don't fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action.
There are good men and bad men of all nationalities, creeds and colors; and if this world of ours is ever to become what we hope some day it may become, it must be by the general recognition that the man's heart and soul, the man's worth and actions, determine his standing.
There are those who believe that a new modernity demands a new morality. What they fail to consider is the harsh reality that there is no such thing as a new morality. There is only one morality . All else is immorality.
The duties are even more important than the rights; and in the long run I think that the reward is ampler and greater for duty well done, than for the insistence upon individual rights.
I violate no secret when I say that one of the greatest values in Masonry is that it affords an opportunity for men of all walks of life to meet on common ground where all men are equal and have one common interest.
From its origin to the present hour, in all its vicissitudes, Masonry has been the steady unwearing friend of man.
Let us show, not merely in great crises, but in every day of life, qualities of practical intelligence, of hardihood and endurance, and above all, the power of devotion to a lofty ideal.
Our words must be judged by our deeds; and in striving for a lofty ideal we must use practical methods; and if we cannot attain all at one leap, we must advance towards it step by step, reasonably content so long as we do actually make some progress in the right direction.
The chase is among the best of all national pastimes; it cultivates that vigorous manliness for the lack of which in a nation, as in an individual, the possession of no other qualities can possibly atone.
I want to see you game, boys, I want to see you brave and manly, and I also want to see you gentle and tender.
We will send ships and Marines as soon as possible for the protection of American life and property.
Let men express the intense admiration, which I share with all other Americans, of the record made by the Marines.
Conservation means development as much as it does protection.
Conservation means development as much as it does protection. I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us.
There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm.
There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm. There is a delight in the hardy life of the open... Apart from this, yet mingled with it, is the strong attraction of the silent places, of the large tropic moons, and the splendor of the new stars; where the wanderer sees the awful glory of sunrise and sunset in the wide waste spaces of the earth, unworn of man, and changed only by the slow change of the ages through time everlasting.
Every book of tactics in the regiment was in use from morning until night, and the officers and non-commissioned officers were always studying the problems presented at the schools.
While my interest in natural history has added very little to my sum of achievement, it has added immeasurably to my sum of enjoyment in life.
The conservation of our natural resources and their proper use constitute the fundamental problem which underlies almost every other problem of our national life.
There comes a time in the life of a nation, as in the life of an individual, when it must face great responsibilities, whether it will or no. We have now reached that time. We cannot avoid facing the fact that we occupy a new place among the people of the world.
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